Susan Swider, PhD, RN

Department of Community, Systems, and Mental Health Nursing, College of Nursing
Department of Health Systems Management, College of Health Sciences
Department of Nursing Sciences, Graduate College
Role: Faculty
Joined Rush in 1998


I am a professor in the Department of Community, Systems and Mental Health Nursing at Rush University in Chicago. I have practiced in acute care, home health care and public health settings over the past thirty years. My research has been focused on program development and evaluation of community health workers, engaging urban communities in health promotion and health policy to support health promotion efforts.  I have also taught public health nursing at the pre-licensure and graduate/specialty levels at several universities and co-directed ten years of HRSA-supported work to develop an online doctoral program in Advanced Public Health Nursing, ensuring that it met the Quad Council competencies for Public Health Nursing practice.

I am a member of a number of public health and public health nursing organizations and a past president of the Association of Community Health Nursing Educators (ACHNE). In my role with ACHNE, I served on the Quad Council for Public Health Nursing organizations, and I was a member of the Task Force that revised the Competencies for Public Health Nursing (2010-2012). In 2011, D I was appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health, a group designed to advise on the development and implementation of the National Prevention Strategy. I am also a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago. In 2016, I was appointed to serve on the Community Preventive Services Task Force of the CDC.

What inspired you to get into your field?

I was always interested in the health professions but I was drawn towards nursing by its focus on seeing health broadly and working with clients/patients on their health status within the limits of their emotional, psychological and social realities.

What excited you about your work at Rush?

I like the way Rush focuses on clinical application and the patient’s welfare. In my work, this translates to communities, but the Rush focus is always on real outcomes for real people.

What is your opinion of mentoring and sponsorship? Please comment about your experiences.

I have been fortunate to have mentors who guided me in nursing scholarship, public health and policy. In turn, I reach out to students and colleagues because I want to support and guide them in their work, with the overall goal of improving scholarship and practice to enhance the health of the public.

Do you have tips or advice you would recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?

Keep one foot in clinical practice; this will inform and enhance your research, scholarship and teaching.

What are your hobbies? How do you like to spend your free time?

I enjoy hiking, reading and traveling.